By on October 25, 2010

You know that something is a fad when A) it’s bubbling on the stock market or when B) snake-oil salesmen tout the newest revolution, and regular folks actually start believing them.We’re not quite there yet with “A)”, but check out what I call an exhibit for “B)”.

Tonight, a yellow, electrified Audi A2 will start a trip from Munich to Berlin: 600 kilometers (370+ miles).  And here’s the banger: it won’t stop to re-charge, re-fuel, or re-gurgitate. Upon reaching Berlin tomorrow morning, German Federal Minister of the Economy Rainer Brüderle will meet the car and the press, for a photo op. If the journey is completed, it will break the world record for the longest EV trip on a single charge. Autobild reports that the German automakers are anxious to learn more about this amazing achievement in meetings after the political press conference… at least, as long as the stunt actually takes place.

Who’s behind all this? The main organizer is “lekker Energie”, a newish electric utility in Berlin. (Lekker, depending on whether you’re Dutch or German, means either “good” or “tasty”, or something else). They claim the car will be using a completely new battery technology that will solve all the range problems we associate with EVs.

Who makes the batteries? “A Berlin-based energy-storage systems company that is supported by the Federal Ministry of…” (you guessed it). They started converting the Audi six weeks ago, which means they are not only geniuses, but also mighty fast. The Lekker boys say the installed battery has an exceptional capacity of 115kWh. I say all this sounds fishy.

There is nothing new under the sun. You can expect battery capacity-per-weight-unit to expand by around 10% per decade, by incremental improvement. Maybe more. Don’t put your money or stake your rep on anything supposedly revolutionary. There is no way a small four-seater electric can do 600 KM non-stop with one set of batteries (with a $500k fuel cell system: yes, but that’s something else).

I won’t do a Werner Herzog, but I will donate €100 to a charity of TTAC’s choice if I’m wrong. Deal? We’ll keep you posted.

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11 Comments on “Snake Oil Alert: The “Tasty” 600 km EV...”

  • avatar

    Couldn’t it be as simple as stripping the car of all non essential weight and then loading it up with 2 to 3 times the normal (assuming something like 100 mile range is normal) number of batteries?

    • 0 avatar

      Yep.  It would be about 820 kg, or 1800 pounds, of batteries.  That’s pushing what’s possible a little bit, but not tremendously.
      I could probably drive a tanker truck of gasoline across the country without stopping, too.

  • avatar

    Maybe they strapped a windmill on the front to recharge in route……the faster you go the more electricity you can generate!

  • avatar

    If it has a 115 kWh  battery, I could see this happening.  But, does it really have a 115 kWh battery?  The Volt has a 16 kWh and the Leaf a 24kWh battery.  I am curious as to how much this 115 kWh battery costs and if it even exists.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Connect together enough smaller batteries…
      But seriously, this is irrelevant, considering the cost and space such a large battery will take up. Makes for good PR, as always. And the politicians will be suitably impressed.

  • avatar

    They are just stealing from people who are bad at physics and chemistry.
    The only real problem with that is that they vote for criminal psychopaths who destroy everyone’s life.

    Democracy – Slow death by the majority retarded parasites.

    Right, Pericles?

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    If they could even get half this range in a economically feasible production vehicle it would still be a big step forward.
    So keep the snake fingers crossed!

  • avatar

    Huh ? Worlds longest drive ?

    “SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) is pleased to announce that Mira EV powered by SANYO lithium-ion battery systems achieved a travel distance of 1,003.184 km, breaking its own Guinness World Record for the longest journey without recharging. “

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The A2 was a small (B segment) car, very light (all aluminum), and highly aerodynamic. Remove any excess weight, like the rear seat, replace the glass rear and side windows with plastic, use very skinny tires and over-inflate them. Drive slowly, and be willing to run the battery down to zero charge which might kill it. (GM won’t let you run a volt battery under 50%). You might be able to go 600 km
    Would you have proved anything?

  • avatar

    So…what will it take to prove to you that you are wrong? Do we have to fly you to Germany or something? Totally not worth it.
    But anyway, you are wrong. Mistaken. Incorrect.
    As the other commenter pointed out, someone has gone farther in an EV. Probably slowly, but they went. The Mira has it’s 75 kWh worth of Sanyo batteries very nicely installed in the floor. The Japan EV Club has great pictures of the install. You should check it out sometime.

  • avatar
    martin schwoerer

    drvin98, the Mira is a good technology carrier, but the record-breaking drive was at speeds that were below what you can do on public roads.
    Concerning the Berlin run, you don’t have to fly me to Germany, although I appreciate the offer. I’m already there, and a piece about what happened will be posted shortly.

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